Connect with us

City Lifestyle

Review: A docu-drama on Shimla that’ll revive your childhood memories and that struggle for playground



short film on Shimla

The government is least concerned about it. Large pieces of land are cleared for construction of shopping complexes and parking lots. However, playground and parks aren’t anywhere in the to-do-list of government.

SHIMLA-The Shimla Ridge is always crowded during day as it represents the very heart of the popular hill station. For those who are born and brought up in Shimla, the Ridge appears like an ant-farm with constant humming noise emanating from the crowd throughout the day. But if you ever get a chance to visit it early morning, then don’t miss it. It’s serene enough to allow sounds of nature take over for a while. For instance, at early morning hours you can hear chirping of birds. You should definitely watch Vivek Mohan’s new docu-drama “SOS: Shivaji park of Shimla” that includes early morning scenes that can justify aforesaid statement.

Vivek Mohan was born and brought up in Shimla and is currently based in Mumbai. His 21 minute docu-drama might not be a masterpiece from artistic and technical perspective as it’s shot only with an iPhone.  The filmmaker didn’t want to destroy realistic behavior of children by intruding with bulky professional camera. So, he just used an iPhone. Rather, the docu-drama is more focused on a critical issue that no political party or organization ever take up – complete lack of playgrounds for children in Shimla town.

Watch Full Docu-Drama

The docu-drama will definitely revive childhood memories of those brought up in Shimla. They’ll agree that children in Shimla spend more time searching for lost balls than playing the game. You’ll understand what we intend to say here if  you are brought up in Shimla. In the middle of a cricket match, it was common to witness extensive search operations in bushes to find lost balls. In Shimla, it’s nothing short of a bliss for children to find even a small space to play.  That’s because the administration has even failed to provide even small parks for kids.

One of the British era water reservoirs, the Shimla Ridge, used to be the only place that children used to treat as their common playground. However, now these children are not allowed to play here because their playing causes inconvenience to people. This justification would have been logical if these children had anything on the name of a playground.

The Ridge is shown in different shades which suggest that the filmmaker had been chasing  gangs of children for months. The early morning scenes, other than children, contains usual activity like a waterman opening water supply while sound of broom is clearly audible in the background. Moreover, the original background sounds don’t miss barking of dogs – a permanent feature of the Shimla Ridge and the Mall. Clearly, even dogs can play on the Ridge while children are restricted. The occasional and the only mechanical intrusion is that of ambulances or police vehicles. 

SOS: Shivaji park of Shimla


The filmmaker has compared the famous Shivaji park in Mumbai to the Ridge Shimla. Despite being a stadium, Shivaji Park is open for all people and children to play. However, in Shimla, the only open space is prohibited for children to play or to cycle. Children complain that cops threaten to snatch their cycles and chase them away with warnings. 
The police is, no doubt, only following directions here, but still it sounds unfair to chose cops to chase away these children whenever they try to play. Police hardly enjoys any positive image. Children still try to find opportunity to use the Shimla Ridge as their playground. Mostly, early morning when the Ridge is completely deserted, these children try to make full of it. The children are aware that police doesn’t take more than a few minutes to arrive as rotating CCTV cameras always keep vigil on them. Still, they take their chances like rebels do. 

The administration is least concerned about it and always expresses helplessness. Large pieces of lands are being cleared for construction of shopping complexes and parking lots. However, playgrounds or parks aren’t anywhere in the to-do-list of government. Some selected playgrounds either belong to schools or similar institutions. Isn’t it insensitive of us to underestimate the role of a playground in development of children? If you ask a counselor, it’s shear repression of natural instinct of human kind during childhood – playfulness. Children start exploring their world from playground. Sadly, citizens, too,  don’t try to push the administration to think about the issue.

Annadale ground

Photo: Daily Mail

The filmmaker has even created a dedicated Facebook Group “SOS: Shivaji park of Shimla” for this cause that like minded people are joining. Here, you will find suggestions to this issue like letting children to play on Annandale ground and even Jubbar Hatti airport. The airport is hardly in use and Annandale has been turned into a helipad with little air traffic. The world’s highest cricket ground in Chail isn’t under the control of district administration, hence,  not accessible to children. So, children are forced to compromise with quality of their childhood. 

To continue this campaign, the filmmaker has even planned an event in Shimla to highlight the same issue.

Vivek Mohan has started this campaign but he’ll require support of citizens to achieve the intended purpose – playgrounds and parks for children.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

City Lifestyle

Fursat Se- Shimla Based Cultural Community to Plant 550 Trees on 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji



Shimla-On the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji, Fursat Se, a cultural community based in Shimla plans to plant 550 trees. The founder of Fursat Se, Amrita Bhasin, is working towards creating safe spaces for promotion of art, literature and open dialogue through the medium of events.

“We invite 550 people (&more) to pledge and plant one tree each and help us initiate a Green Movement by the people and for the people,”

She said.

Anyone interested in this, can pick a local tree sapling and plant it in allowed areas of the neighborhood and pledge to take care of it, and send the information on the same with a picture and hashtag #TreeTalesIndia to Fursat Se. For pledging, volunteering and becoming a part of this initiative you can contact them, and Fursat Se will share the pictures from their social media handles.

The initiative is organized by Fursat Se- A Cultural Community in association with- Swach Himalayas, a Himachal based NGO started by Savitoj Singh, that works towards spreading awareness about various environmental issues, undertakes initiatives like regular visits to old-age homes, orphanages through numerous community driven events and Unbox Himachal valley- a Himachal based start-up by Shivee Sirmauri, working towards empowerment of rural women by providing employment opportunities and reviving old cultural handicrafts.

Fursat Se- 550 trees plantation

Continue Reading

City Lifestyle

Himachal’s fitness enthusiast shines at Indian TV Reality Show




Himachal's Fitness enthusiast sachin sharma of Shimla

Shimla: Sachin Sharma, a handsome man of 26, is currently a person who stands in contrast to Himachal Pradesh’s ill-famed youth struggling with drug and substance abuse – a crucial issue that has sounded an alarm in the State. Sachin is the one who joined a gym at the age of 19 – an age at which teenagers are struggling to escape from the jaws of drug/substance abuse, especially Heroin (Chitta).

Sachin, born in a middle-class family of Deha village, Theog, Shimla district, recently appeared in what could be called India’s first fitness reality show “Indian Fitness League.” It wasn’t a bodybuilding show, but the challenge was to undertake tasks designed to check who is the fittest. Sachin was the only one from Himachal to have made through the auditions. He was selected as one of the 40 fittest people of India. He earned the special attention of the hosts of the show as well as among other competitors.

The next episode of the TV show would be telecasted on October 6 on Discovery Sports at 4 PM.

To know more about him, Himachal Watcher interviewed him (Watch Video). We found that his story is inspirational in its own way:

Far from ill and unhealthy habits, he doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink or take anything that would toy with his physical and mental fitness. He definitely doesn’t take steroids. Since last seven years, he has followed a strict discipline in diet and habits. He didn’t compromise with his studies either. He completed his schooling from Dayanand Public School in Shimla.

In 2018 he completed his post graduation in Masters of Business (MBA) from Himachal Pradesh University and had procured a placement for himself too.

He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth so placement did matter for him. His father Mohan Lal Sharma and mother Subhadra Sharma are both serving with the Crime Investigation Department (CID), HP, as Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) and Head Constable respectively. It wasn’t easy to manage an additional expenditure of Rs. 15,000 – 20, 000 on his protein diet for seven years.

At this point, his decision-making ability was put to test. He had to choose one of the two: job placement and passion for fitness. He listened to himself and decided to seek a career in the fitness industry.

Though Sachin’s body is in good shape, he isn’t actually a bodybuilder. He is a fitness enthusiast, who has trained without a professional trainer or a mentor. He made ample use of YouTube to learn. He didn’t take up fitness as his passion because he was inspired by someone. He was his own inspiration.

He first received an opportunity to get on a stage at annual Mr. Himachal competition. Later he won the Maruti Suzuki Devils Circuit held in Chandigarh.

Now, after his tremendous performance at the IFL, Sachin has received sponsorships and was inducted in the TG Athlete group. Opportunities in the fitness industry have begun to appear before him. He believes that someday, he would extend support and guidance to other fitness enthusiasts of the state, which he could hardly receive for himself.

He is an idol for the youth of Himachal, especially because fitness is an antonym to drug/substance abuse and indiscipline. In the majority of cases filed under the Narcotics, Drugs & Psychoactive Substances (ND&PS) Act, the accused are reported to be between 20-25 years. A couple of days back Shimla Police arrested a 22-years-old local boy with a packet of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) stamps. 

Continue Reading

City Lifestyle

A small initiative by bunch of creative people making a difference



Healing Himalayas rainshelter art

Shimla: Shimla – a name that leaves many hearts pounding, many wandering souls want to travel to this place, is well on its way of losing its charm. Every hilltop blotted with concrete houses, every slope shrouded under littered waste, every corner of the town chocked to death by oil-guzzling machines – this is the new picture of our town that was once famous for being ‘Queen of the Hill.’

Visual pollution mostly remained unchecked, and the majority of the public properties like rain-shelters have become free advertisement boards. 

To whatever direction you throw an eye, all you see is the tainted landscape. A hazy skyline hidden behind a cloud of dust and pollution ruins the vista. If you ask who is responsible for creating this mess – the only sound that echoes in the mountains is bad governance.

However, holding the governance alone responsible would be wrong. The people of the town are equally responsible for turning our town, which once used to be a beautiful hill station covered in deodar forests, into a wretch place. The landscape turns gloomier when you discover more about how our once-a-beautiful town looks on the inside.

Rain-Shelter at the BCS in Shimla City before Revamping

No matter how gloomy the landscape of our town turns, there are always people with positive spirits who refuse to give up. This group of creative people, under the name of a Non-profit organization Healing Himalayas – in association with some local artists and volunteers, is a good example of how to work in the right direction and set things right.

Healing Himalaya initiative in shimla city 1

Before revamping

They are striving hard to bring back the lost glory of the hill queen by making small efforts like conducting cleaning drives across Shimla and inspiring people to not litter.

Healing Himalaya initiative in shimla city 9

Removing posters/pamphletsa

This doesn’t stop here. They are taking steps to beautify the town by giving bus stops or rains shelters a revamped look. Almost all bus stops are in a really bad state.

Healing Himalaya initiative in shimla city 11

Cleaning the rain shelter

I am not very sure if they serve the purpose of providing shelter to the public on a rainy or sunny day, but they are a free and open playground for advertisers. Every local company, business, institutions especially coaching academies come and use interior as well as exterior walls of rain shelters to advertise their services and offers.

Healing Himalaya initiative in shimla city 8

Painting after cleaning

In an effort to spread awareness on how to use public properties/places, the NGO takes to the streets of BSC, New Shimla on Sunday, May 20, 2018, and started peeling off posters and banners that stained the walls of the shelter beyond repair.

Healing Himalaya initiative in shimla city 10

The team which included about 25 artists and volunteers took over the shelter at around 7:00 am and removed all posters and banners from the wall.

Healing Himalayas shimla city initiative 13

The poster removal drill that lasted for about four hours was followed by applying multiple quotes of primer and whitewash. That’s not it; to turn the once-an-ugly-looking shelter into a work of art, the enthusiasts covered the walls in beautiful artwork.

Healing Himalayas shimla city initiative 15

An inspiring initiative by a bunch of creative people turned gloomy walls of the shelter into a life-size canvas where beautiful forms and figures started taking shapes. In the tireless process, the rain shelter was a changed place that looked no less than an art gallery.

Healing Himalaya initiative in shimla city 3

Inspiring art depicting endangered mother earth instils an element of emotion in the concrete walls. Blooming flowers, guitar, beautiful landscapes, and ‘Ardhanarishvara’ with moon arch as his head ornament turn the walls into a multicoloured art.

After cleaning and painting

From blending colours to make a perfect hue to making the right brush strokes took them about 8 hours to complete the paint job. And, the final output, which reflects their (the team) artistic approach towards a mundane life, deserves your attention. See for yourself.
Healing Himalaya initiative in shimla city 5

Healing Himalaya initiative in shimla city 6

Healing Himalayas shimla city initiative 14
Healing Himalaya initiative in shimla city 7

By Yash Sharma, Shimla

Continue Reading